EDWARD ADRIAN WILSON (1872-1912)
Four autograph letters signed to Sir Archibald Geikie, Madeira (2), Cape Town, Christchurch, 23 June - 27 November 1910, the first apologising for not having had time to say goodbye, gaining practical experience of whaling in the Shetland Islands having taken more time than expected, but noting that 'We are now however fully equipped for whaling., & I hope to bring home two or three new & undescribed species which I know to live in the antarctic waters', he goes on say that he doesn't 'think we could have possibly have hit on a nicer lot of Naval officers - all as keen as possible to help in the Scientific work... The scientific staff... are an excellent lot'; he goes on to ask that copies of the Discovery's Antarctic Album be sent out, for use as gifts in New Zealand. In the second letter he asks for another copy of the album for the navigating Lieutenant [Pennell], and noting that they are about to sail for the Cape. In the third he thanks Sir Archibald for the Albums, again commenting on the excellence of the expedition members, noting that 'Captain Scott has taken my place on the "Terra Nova" from here to Melbourne... Scotts object in the change was to get to know his people... while I reach Melbourne before he does, & choose another geologist there, probably Priestley... we shall then have three ; - Griffith Taylor... J.A.Thomson... and Priestley'. In the fourth,'You will be glad I am sure to have a last line from us before we leave... for the South', commenting on how smoothly everything is going, with one exception: 'We had a blow in finding that J. Allan Thomson... was suffering from phthisis [i.e. pulmonary consumption] - but we have in his place, Priestley... Our other two geologists are Griffith Taylor... & F.Debenham', and ending on an optimistic note: 'I hope when I next write it will be to say that we have made good use of our staff and opportunities', 14pp, 4to and 8vo, each with embossed British Antarctic Expedition vignette stamp at head.
AN IMPORTANT SERIES OF LETTERS, WRITTEN FROM THE VARIOUS PORTS OF CALL EN ROUTE FOR THE ANTARCTIC, FROM THE CHIEF SCIENTIST ON THE EXPEDITION to perhaps the most famous British scientific name of the time. Sir Archibald Geikie (1835-1924), the noted geologist, was from 1908-1912 president of the Royal Society. The society was one of the main sponsors of the expedition, and Geikie a great supporter of the Scientific aims of the expedition.
[With:] A studio portrait photograph of Wilson by G.P.Woodward of Cheltenham. Gelatin silver print (142 x 102mm.), mounted on card with photographer's gilt credit stamp, inscribed 'Edward Adrian Wilson BA. MB Cantab Head of the Scientific Staff National Antarctic Expedition 1910-12'. Provenance: Edward Thomas Wilson (father of the sitter, inscription); F.G.Wilson (aunt of the sitter, accompanying letter addressed to:); Mrs. Pye Smith. [And:] F.G.WILSON. Autograph letter signed to Mrs. Pye Smith, 41 St Mark's Road, 22 December 1913, accompanying the portrait photograph 'his father wrote the name underneath & this is the one we all like best', one page, 8vo, integral blank. [Together with:] Borough of Cheltenham. Wilson Memorial. Arrangements for the Ceremony of Unveiling the Memorial Statue in the Promenade of the late Dr. E.A.Wilson... on Thursday, the 9th July, 1914, a single leaf (192 x 124mm), printed recto and verso. (7)